Armstead Paint Review and Guide

Updated May 25, 2024 | Posted Apr 20, 2020 | Product Reviews, Paints | 8 comments

Armstead is owned and manufactured by AkzoNobel, who also make Dulux, often in the same factory. You’ll find both brands sold side by side at any Dulux Decorating Centre and a lot of other independant trade merchants.

In this review, I’m going to focus on Armstead paint products and talk about each one in turn. As a professional decorator, I have been using Armstead regularly for some time, and know the brand inside and out. I find the overall quality good. I’d even go as far as to say it is one of the best trade brands available, especially if you consider value for money.

First, let’s touch on the best place to buy Armstead paint. For me, if you want a physical store, you should look at Dulux Decorating Centre “DDC”. Remember, Dulux is owned by the same company as Armstead. By going to the source you can tap into some brilliant advice and product knowledge. DDC may not be the cheapest, but their staff are very well trained and knowledgeable. They also provide a free delivery service for phone orders and can scan any colour for you. However, unless you’re entitled to a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy this paint online. Click here to see online prices.

Right, let’s get into the products and my Armstead paint review


Armstead Vinyl Matt Review

Armstead vinyl matt leaves a true matt finish, and you encounter very few problems such as picture framing and roller marks. Drying time is roughly 2 – 4 hours depending on conditions, and you can have this product tinted into any colour from Armstead’s extensive range. You should dilute your first coat if you intend to use it on bare plaster.

Opacity used to be an issue in pale colours, but Armstead seem to have sorted this problem out over the last couple of years. You can now cover bare plaster in two coats, which is ideal.

9/10, Armstead vinyl matt is amazing value for money!

armstead trade vinyl matt paint review

Armstead Vinyl Matt in White for a Ceiling

I know we’re basically talking about the same product again, but I wanted to touch on white vinyl matt as a separate entity. Simply because it is one of my favourite products to use on a ceiling. I am very particular about the white emulsion I use on ceilings, as the wrong product shows flashing, roller marks and surface blemishes a lot more than they’d show on a wall. Armstead white (avoid brilliant white) leaves a dull, rich finish without any of the issues I’ve just mentioned. Opacity is great too, as is the price. Well worth picking up.

another 9/10

the best reasonably priced emulsion for walls and ceilings

Armstead Durable Matt Emulsion Review


I love Armstead durable matt!! It is very cheap compared to other durable matt emulsions on the market and you can achieve a true matt finish. In fact, the finish is lovely!! No flashing or roller marks at all really. Opacity in pale colours can be more of an issue, so expect to have to apply a third coat on occasion. This is the only thing you need to look out for.

8/10, superb paint for the price


Armstead Acrylic Eggshell Review


Another durable emulsion, but unlike Armstead durable matt, the eggshell has more of a sheen to it. Brilliant in bathrooms, kitchens, and high traffic areas, but probably not quite durable enough to use on woodwork like some other brands of eggshell. I do like this product though and I can’t see much difference between this and it’s Dulux counterpart. Then again, eggshell is eggshell. It all pretty much looks the same in any brand. Avoid using this paint in white, as the opacity is shocking



Armstead Contract Matt Review


Armstead contract matt is a product I used to hate!! A few years ago, you’d have all manner of problems with flashing, picture framing, and roller marks. The finish was shockingly bad. It has, however, improved massively over the years.


We are still talking about a very cheap contract matt emulsion. At the time of writing this review, you can pick it up in white or magnolia for £1.80 per litre. Even though it’s cheap, the opacity is fantastic. You can cover bare plaster in two coats without any issues (it bleaches out as it dries). The finish isn’t too shabby either, plus it sprays brilliantly.

7/10 from me!!


Armstead Oil-Based Satinwood Review


Armstead oil-based satinwood is self-undercoating on previously painted woodwork. The finish is good, opacity is ok, and it is cheap. For the price you pay, you are getting an amazing product. I have no issues using it on a job and I’d recommend it to anyone. It can take a while to dry, and the paint can often still be tacky the next day. It seems to retain a high sheen level for a couple of weeks after you’ve used it, but it calms down to a contemporary flat finish that keeps its colour for years.



Armstead Oil-Based Undercoat and Gloss Review


The undercoat is fine. It is the correct viscosity to do a job without being diluted, the adhesion is great, opacity is good, blocks stains well, dries quickly for oil-based and it’s easy to use. Everything you want from an undercoat really.

Armstead gloss seems good too. Opacity and overall finish are spot on. It does seem sticky, so it takes a while to apply it via brush. The sheen level is great though, which is one of the main factors when it comes to gloss. I can’t comment on how quickly it yellows as I’ve never been back to a job that I’ve used it on.

Armstead trade paint review - undercoat and gloss
Armstead quick dry satin paint review

Armstead Quick-Dry Satinwood Review


Armstead QD Satinwood is a fully water-based system. You need to use a separate adhesion primer if going over a previously painted surface. Most people use Dulux QD undercoat or ultra-grip primer. Brush marks can be an issue, but no more than most other water-based satins. The massive issue with this product is it can take an age to cure…. I’m talking days sometimes!! Don’t use it in a bathroom whatever you do!!

That said, I still love it. The ease of use, overall finish and durability are outstanding. Plus, it doesn’t wreck your brushes like other water-based satinwood paint products do.

Let’s go 7/10


Armstead Quick-Dry Gloss Review


This is a fully water-based gloss system. You will need an adhesion primer over previously painted surfaces and the opacity of this product is poor. As is the finish if you use a brush to apply it.

You can get a good finish if you use a foam roller, but it does take a bit of faffing. It sprays well though. Another redeeming feature of Armstead QD gloss is the price. It is much cheaper than a lot of comparable trade products, so you are getting value for money. It isn’t my preferred system though.


Armstead Smooth Masonry Paint Review


Armstead smooth masonry paint does everything a premium masonry paint will do. The ease of application is bang on, opacity is ok but nothing special. The overall finish is fantastic, and you’re left with a dead flat matt. It seems to last forever too. The colour doesn’t fade in the sunlight, so it looks fresh for years.

Armstead Paint Review and Guide - Decorator's forum UK

A range of trade quality paints manufactured by AkzoNobel.

Product Brand: Armstead Trade

Editor's Rating:


  • A full range, containing everything you need in decorating.
  • Good quality paints.
  • Fantastic value for money.
  • Readily available.


  • There are better brands out there, but not in the same price bracket.
  • Armstead QD Gloss isn’t great.

Final Thoughts


Armstead has been one of my favourite paint brands for a long time now. Not only are they a cheaper alternative to Dulux Trade, but the brand stands on its own for quality, price and performance. It’s a brand I can rely on to achieve professional results for my clients.

I like to buy mine from The Decorating Centre online. Not only are the prices fair, but they can also match any colour from a different brand into an Armstead Paint product. So, I can hand Farrow and Ball colour charts to my customers and have their choice mixed into Armstead. Click here to learn more.


What do Other Decorators Think?

Good Quality Paint for Decorating

Mike Cupit talking through some of the main Armstead Trade products

I use Armstead oil based Satinwood regularly, it’s a great product that’s not too thick to use or apply. Great price and would highly recommend.

Adrian Bird

Professional Decorator

I’m a big fan of Armstead!! I mainly use the durable matt, oil satinwood and the primer/undercoat. The price is really good for the quality of the materials. I stay away from the Armstead contract matt emulsion as it flashes on ceilings and doesn’t leave a great finish compared to the more expensive Dulux Supermatt.

The durability of the Durable matt emulsion is really good in my opinion and the sheen level is really low in comparison to other durable matts. The coverage on the satin is great. I would highly recommend most Armstead products

Sam Weaver

Professional Decorator

I always use the Armstead equivalent to all Dulux products. For the difference in price I’d say the quality is on par or better!

Richard Hill

Professional Decorator

I always have Armstead Trade Satinwood in my van. I can’t see much difference in quality from the Dulux trade satin, also £20 cheaper then Dulux, flows lovely and no need to thin down or use paint conditioners.

Paul Oakes

Professional Decorator


In fairness, I used Armstead first time couple weeks back. Black oil-based gloss. It was better than the Dulux High Gloss I’d run out of. Straight from can, brushed lovely, flowed out great and nicer sheen to the Dulux Black Gloss. Something I’d always walked by thinking inferior and cheap but would definitely use again.

Gerard Richardson

Professional Decorator

Armstead paint not only outperforms Dulux, but it also outperforms Leyland and Macpherson which are the equivalent ranges from the other two big paint manufacturers in the UK. The Armstead durable matt emulsion lacks a little bit in opacity and occasionally takes an extra coat, but it’s cheaper than most trade vinyl matts and the finish is to die for!! I used this on most of my jobs instead of normal emulsion. Customers love it.

I love the vinyl matt too. For something that’s so cheap, it covers bare plaster in two coats and looks brilliant. It has a low sheen level meaning you don’t see picture framing or roller marks. I just wish you could still get any Dulux colour matched into Armstead, like you could a couple of years ago. You can save a fortune by switching over to Armstead.

I don’t agree with the review of the Quick Dry Gloss by the way. I like the stuff. It’s fully water-based so looks awesome for years. Just lay off your last coat correctly and you’re onto a winner.

Scott Murphy - Armstead Paint Review - The Dulux Alternative

Professional Decorator

After ignoring it on the shelf for years I tried Armstead White vinyl Matt emulsion on a customer’s ceiling. The ceiling was in good condition, just needed a freshen up. I gave it two coats of Armstread and it looked awful. Showed all cutting in and roller marks as the light shone on the ceiling. It was late in the day and I had to explain to the customer that I won’t leave it in that state and will sort it out tomorrow. I gave it two coats of Johnstone’s the next morning at my cost. Never again.

Walk past the Armstead shelf.

Graham Bodie

Professional Decorator

I use Armstead trade daily and for the price there is nothing like it on the market in my opinion.

The durable Matt and the vinyl Matt perform well in dark colours and the durability is as claimed.

The contract Matt is bang on for the price point, sprays well and bleaches out well.

The quick dry satin is fantastic for rentals and the quick dry gloss performs well against its rivals.

Dale Ell

Professional Decorator

Found the Armstead contract white awful on bare plaster…crown or Johnstone’s for me🤘

Wayne Herbert West Playford

Professional Decorator

The paint from Armstead is ok.

High gloss is good but as with all the cheaper brands it does occasionally require additional coats.

Emulsion is the same but for the price it’s very good👍👍

Steve West - Armstead Paint Review - The Dulux Alternative

Professional Decorator

Updated May 25, 2024 | Posted Apr 20, 2020 | 8 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.


  1. David Crossman

    I used the oil based gloss on a stair handrail on the basis it would be more durable than water based. Applied in warm summer weather last year and it still felt tacky after a fortnight. DDC told me to be patient!

    • Richard

      David, sorry to state the obvious but did you degrease with sugar soap, the wax off peoples hands is a factor here.

      Amstead range is good, the contract Matt is a mare for touch ups on new builds. Also ceilings. MacPherson eclipse far better on ceilings.
      Durable Matt , vinyl Matt , water gloss, , oil gloss Johnstones is a vastly superior product.

      Johnstones is PPGs premium product for same money as Amstead which is Duluxs cheaper product.
      Way l see it anyway.

  2. John wild

    Great reviews of a brand that I use most days. ! Only thing I wouldn’t use a vinyl on a ceiling ever that’s what shows up all the marks and bumps.

  3. Steven Mcfarlane

    Good review. I agree with your findings.
    Contract Matt is horrible stuff. It may well have its place in new build but for my work it’s no use . The vinyl Matt, durable Matt and eggshell are very good. I’d happily recommend and use them. Gloss is good. Leaves a good finish. Not tried the satinwood
    My thoughts going forward ( had plenty of time to think about this 🤪 ) Dulux supermatt on ceilings Armstead products on walls , Dulux gloss and satinwood ( though I may try the Armstead ) as it’s not a great deal more for Dulux bliss over Armstead gloss. You save money on m2 not woodwork on most jobs. So for walls I see no huge gain using Dulux . I’d rather offer my clients a durable Matt from Armstead over just a vinyl Matt from Dulux . Makes more sense to me.

  4. Will

    The worst oil-based gloss that I have used in over 40 years in the trade.

  5. Nigel

    Hello I am planning to use armstead durable acrylic egg shell white as undercoat and finish off with Johnstone satin brilliant white ,to use on skirting and doors after using sugar soap to begin with before painting does anyone see issues doing this method

  6. Jack Wardley

    never used armstead gloss but asked dulux about the yellowing and they said it would stay white just as long as dulux trade gloss

  7. Jack Wardley

    Armstead oil gloss went yellow after about a year


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